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Johann Olav Koss (born 29 October 1968) is a former speed skater from Norwaymarker, considered to be one of the best in history.

Biography

Johann Olav Koss (2007)
Olav Koss became the Norwegian Junior Champion in 1987, but he could not compete with the world top skaters in the 1986 and 1987 World Junior Championships. In 1988, he debuted with the seniors at the World Championships in Alma-Atamarker, but failed to qualify for the final distance. The following year, he finished eighth in the same tournament (after a fifteenth place in the European Allround Championships), placing second on the 1,500 m. His breakthrough came in 1990, winning the World Allround Championships in Innsbruckmarker, Austriamarker. The following four years, he would win two more world titles (1991 and 1994), while finishing second in 1993 and third in 1992. He won the European Allround Championships in 1991 and finished second in the next three editions. Koss had a total of twenty-three World Cup wins, while winning four overall World Cup titles (the 1,500 m in 1990 and 1991, and the combined 5,000/10,000 m in 1991 and 1994).

Koss made his Olympic debut at the 1992 Winter Olympics, finishing seventh on the 5,000 m, five days after undergoing surgery because of an inflamed pancreas. He would recover to win gold on the 1,500 m (by only 0.04 seconds over fellow countryman Ådne Søndrål) and silver on the 10,000 m (behind Dutch skater Bart Veldkamp).

In 1994, the final year of his speed skating career, Koss also gained fame outside the speed skating world by winning three gold medals at the 1994 Winter Olympics in his native Norway, winning all races in new world records, two of which would remain unbeaten until the clap skate era. For his performance, he was named Sports Illustrated magazine's Sportsman of the Year in 1994, together with Bonnie Blair (The last non-American to do so as of 2009.). In addition, he received the Oscar Mathisen Award three times: in 1990, 1991, and 1994.

After his speed skating career, Koss trained as a physician at the University of Queenslandmarker in Australia. He became a UNICEF ambassador and a member of the International Olympic Committeemarker (until 2002). He married Canadianmarker businessperson and politician Belinda Stronach on 31 December 1999, but they divorced in 2003. Koss is now the CEO of the International Humanitarian Organisation, Right To Play, which uses sport and play as a tool for the development of children and youth in the most disadvantaged areas of the world. From his adopted home in Toronto, Canada, Koss directs seven regional Right To Play offices in Europe and the United States with 64 paid staff and 90 volunteers.

He married his second wife, Jennifer Lee, in New York on May 23, 2009. Lee's friend Chelsea Clinton was one of the bridesmaids.Lee, 31, is a Harvard College, Oxford University and Harvard Business School graduate. She is currently an investment professional at Ontario Teachers' Private Capital in Toronto.

Medals

An overview of medals won by Koss at important championships he participated in, listing the years in which he won each:

Championships Gold medal Silver medal Bronze medal
Winter Olympics 1992 (1,500 m)
1994 (1,500 m)
1994 (5,000 m)
1994 (10,000 m)


1992 (10,000 m)
World Allround 1990
1991
1994

1993 1992
World Cup 1990 (1,500 m)
1991 (1,500 m)
1991 (5,000 m / 10,000 m)
1994 (5,000 m / 10,000 m)


1992 (1,500 m)
1992 (5,000 m / 10,000 m)
1993 (5,000 m / 10,000 m)

1990 (5,000 m / 10,000 m)
European Allround 1991 1992
1993
1994

Norwegian Allround 1991
1992
1993
1994


1989
1990
Norwegian Single Distance 1989 (1,500 m)
1989 (5,000 m)
1990 (1,500 m)
1990 (5,000 m)
1990 (10,000 m)
1991 (1,500 m)
1991 (5,000 m)
1991 (10,000 m)
1993 (1,000 m)
1993 (5,000 m)
1994 (1,500 m)









1989 (1,000 m)
1990 (1,000 m)
1992 (1,000 m)
1992 (5,000 m)


1988 (10,000 m)
1991 (1,000 m)
1992 (1,500 m)
1994 (5,000 m)




World records

Over the course of his career, Koss skated ten world records:

Event Result Date Venue
3,000 m 3:57.52 13 March 1990 Heerenveenmarker
5,000 m 6:41.73 9 February 1991 Heerenveenmarker
10,000 m 13:43.54 10 February 1991 Heerenveenmarker
Big combination 157.396 26 February 1991 Heerenveenmarker
5,000 m 6:38.77 22 January 1993 Heerenveenmarker
5,000 m 6:36.57 13 March 1993 Heerenveenmarker
5,000 m 6:35.53 4 December 1993 Hamarmarker
5,000 m 6:34.96 13 February 1994 Hamarmarker
1,500 m 1:51.29 16 February 1994 Hamarmarker
10,000 m 13:30.55 20 February 1994 Hamarmarker


Personal records

To put these personal records in perspective, the WR column lists the official world records on the dates that Koss skated his personal records.

Event Result Date Venue WR
500 m 37.98 7 January 1994 Hamarmarker 35.92
1,000 m 1:14.9  10 January 1993 Hamarmarker 1:12.58
1,500 m 1:51.29 16 February 1994 Hamarmarker 1:51.60
3,000 m 3:57.52 13 March 1990 Heerenveenmarker 3:59.27
5,000 m 6:34.96 13 February 1994 Hamarmarker 6:35.53
10,000 m 13:30.55 20 February 1994 Hamarmarker 13:43.54
Big combination 157.257 9 January 1994 Hamarmarker 156.882


Koss was number one on the Adelskalender, the all-time allround speed skating ranking, for a total of 1,998 days, divided over three periods between 1992 and 1997. He has an Adelskalender score of 155.099 points.

Johann Olav Koss has attended the Bilderberg meetings.

References

  • Eng, Trond. All Time International Championships, Complete Results: 1889 - 2002. Askim, Norway: WSSSA-Skøytenytt, 2002.
  • Eng, Trond; Gjerde, Arild and Teigen, Magne. Norsk Skøytestatistikk Gjennom Tidene, Menn/Kvinner, 1999 (6. utgave). Askim/Skedsmokorset/Veggli, Norway: WSSSA-Skøytenytt, 1999.
  • Eng, Trond; Gjerde, Arild; Teigen, Magne and Teigen, Thorleiv. Norsk Skøytestatistikk Gjennom Tidene, Menn/Kvinner, 2004 (7. utgave). Askim/Skedsmokorset/Veggli/Hokksund, Norway: WSSSA-Skøytenytt, 2004.
  • Eng, Trond and Teigen, Magne. Komplette Resultater fra offisielle Norske Mesterskap på skøyter, 1894 - 2005. Askim/Veggli, Norway: WSSSA-Skøytenytt, 2005.
  • Teigen, Magne. Komplette Resultater Norske Mesterskap På Skøyter, 1887 - 1989: Menn/Kvinner, Senior/Junior. Veggli, Norway: WSSSA-Skøytenytt, 1989.
  • Teigen, Magne. Komplette Resultater Internasjonale Mesterskap 1889 - 1989: Menn/Kvinner, Senior/Junior, allround/sprint. Veggli, Norway: WSSSA-Skøytenytt, 1989.


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